Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers-French Macarons

I remembered the first time I tasted a French Macaron, it came all the way from Paris via a family friend, and it was from Pierre Hermé, of all places. It was a revelation, the flavors were amazing, so was the texture. After I switched my career to the Art of Pastry I decided I had to master these delicate morsels. The first recipe I tried was from the Chocolate Desserts book by Pierre Hermé, and obviously they were chocolate macarons. They were truly amazing, and for a while I was making them as part of the cookie platter at the restaurant where I worked. After a while I stopped making them, mostly because of laziness, and because I have a hard time not eating then non stop. But soon I discovered a sunflower seeds and ginseng recipe in the gorgeous book Wild Sweets and I was hooked again.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

For this challenge I had left over egg whites from all the challah bread I make for the farmers' market, so I had plenty to work with. To be daring, I wanted to compare recipes and try different flavors so I chose to make the sunflower seeds recipe, Fleming's recipe with the addition of cocoa powder, and Tartelette's recipe to which I substituted half pistachios and added a little cardamom. I also made some macha macarons using Helen's recipe, because I have been wanting to make those for ages, and I filled them with red bean paste butter cream, YUM!

For the complete recipe please check Ami's blog Baking without Fear here.

The daring kitchen has a forum for the Daring Bakers and I had read many posts complaining of the lack of feet using Fleming's recipe, which has less sugar than more traditional recipes, including Helen's of Tartelette. Helen was wonderful and helped by sharing her expertize with macarons, but still the recipe was at fault, I believe. After trying one batch using Fleming's recipe I have to agree with the other DBs, mine got no feet and they all cracked. Plus they were not soft, but quite hard.

The other macarons all had feet and looked like they are supposed to look. The eggs whites were the same, aged the same, the only difference, beside the cocoa powder, was the ratio of almonds and sugar. I will stick with the other recipe from now on since it worked for me.

Thanks Ami for challenging us with this recipe and to all the other daring bakers for their talent and inspiration. Check their work here.

Sunflower Ginseng Macarons

225 gr icing sugar (sifted)
50 gr sunflower seeds
75 gr almonds
1 tsp ginseng powder
100 gr whites
25 granulated sugar

Grind the sunflower seeds with a little bit of powder sugar in a coffee grinder. For the method, follow Tartelette's recipe.


Julia @ Mélanger said...

I struggled with this macaron recipe, too. I actually did tweak a few things because from my experience it didn't seem too accurate and was a little vague in parts - e.g. 5 egg whites (what weight?). Overall though, I managed some decent macarons. Though found them more fragile.

Jill said...

I love all the fillings you made! I'm with you--that recipe seriously didn't work for me. I had to go back to Tartelette's--it just works best here. I am so envious that you've had a real macaron from Paris. :)

Simona said...

Your macarons look very nice. Will you bring some to the farmers' market as well?

Jenny Tan said...

Yup, I had problems with mine using the recipe too! You are so lucky to have had the real stuff from Paris! :) Love your macs!

Gaia said...

Li ho visti tante volte a giro, ma mi assaggiati.
Che consistenza ha il biscotto? Mi da' l'idea che sia molto 'spumoso'.. sbaglio?
un abbraccio

enza said...

aaaaa lo dicevo io allora posso consolarmi per le mie frittatine sconfortanti.
volevo rientrare nel db con i macaron e invece...però le meringhe le ho messe in forno :)

Laura said...

Julie, I just didn't have the energy to tweak, so I went back to my tested recipe, thanks for stopping by.

Jill, I wish I had actually been in Paris when I ate the macarons, one day...

Simona, I thought of that, I will try few bags and see how they go, perfect for gluten free people.

Jenny Tan, thanks for stopping by, I am glad it wasn't me, but the recipe!

Gaia, sono morbidi dentro, tra il ricciarello e le fave che si vendono nel veneto a Novembre.

Enza, prova la ricetta di Tartelette, e' perfetta. E avresti dovuto scrivere un post lo stesso anche se non ti sono venute!

Jo said...

Such an exotic flavour and your macs look perfect. Wish I had a taste of this.

Audax said...

Yes I think that the DB recipe wasn't the best to try I LOVE Tartelette recipe. Beautiful work love the photos. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

lisa @ dandysugar said...

I love your flavor combination, it's very unique and original. Your macarons look lovely. I ended up using Tartlette's tutorial instead as well!

Lisa said...

Laura, talk about creativity, ginseng and sunflower seeds sound marvelous, and yummy! I too preferred Helen's recipe by far, and will definitely stick with it.

natalia said...

Ciao !Come stai ?? Sono bellissimi i tuoi macarons !! Devo provare la ricetta Tartelettiana !!

Marcellina said...

Your macarons are great! I also preferred Tartlette's recipe. How I would love to try Pierre Herme` macarons!

enza said...

sai laura che ho comunque fatto le foto delle frittatine? ho anche ricomprato la farina di mandorle così aspetto tempi migliori e poi ci riprovo, sta sicura, mica mi arrendo così.
sto solo aspettando di far qualcosa di decente e fare una specie di post comparativo.

Laura said...

Thanks for all who visited! For all who had no luck with the recipe, try again with Tartelette's, it works!

George said...

Interesting posts you have here ... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often.
from ginseng photos.


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